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Reconfiguring Nostalgic Stories

An Interview with Susan Brandt, President of Dr. Seuss Enterprises

— November 1, 2019 — Business
The Dr. Seuss Experience recently kicked off at Mississauga's Square One, giving Seuss fans across Southern Ontario the chance to explore the stories they grew up with through an interactive lens and introduce new generations to the engaging themes, imaginative characters, and positive messages that the stories champion.

To create the Dr. Seuss Experience, Dr. Seuss Enterprises joined with Kilburn Media's live events division, Kilburn Live. To get a better understanding of what inspired the experience, what attendees can expect, and how new mediums continue to shape the iconic author's work, we spoke with Susan Brandt, President of Dr. Seuss Enterprises.

Can you tell us a little bit about the Dr. Seuss experience, and what prompted you to bring it to Toronto?

The experience is going to allow our fans and our guests to really enter the world of Dr. Seuss in a new and different way. We thought about doing this when I actually looked at some of these pop-up museums and I thought, wow, we now have the technology to really catch up to Ted Geisel and the worlds that he created. How many times have you as a child read those books and wanted to enter those worlds? At first, we really couldn't figure out how to do that. Once we saw what was being done nowadays however, we realized we could bring people into these worlds in new and different ways, and that's what we're doing with the Dr. Seuss Experience.

Dr. Seuss has remained a literary icon throughout generations. How do you think the sensory experience will help to shape interpretations of his work moving forward?

I think it'll remind you of the characters and stories that you probably grew up with as a child and loved, stories like 'The Cat in the Hat,' 'The Lorax,' and 'Horton Hears a Who.' It may also introduce you to some new friends. I'm not sure anyone has ever met a Bofa on the Sofa, or a Zamp in the Lamp from, 'There's a Wocket in My Pocket.' I love that you'll have the opportunity to experience and play with those characters that are so familiar, but also with those that are truly special that maybe haven't gotten as much time in the sun so to speak.

The immersive experiences are inspired by themes taken from nine stories. How were these experiences created and what can visitors expect when they walk in?

We worked very closely with Kilburn Media's team to ensure that we were capturing not just our characters and our stories, but the messaging in each story. So for example, in 'The Lorax,' we recall that the Lorax reminds us that "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not." You have a choice in that book. Do you listen to the Once-ler's tale of caution, or do you not? Your experience may vary depending on what your decision is.

We needed to make sure that these experiences felt authentic and that these messages were clearly communicated. We did that by finding the right team that understood these books, understood the messages, and were able to bring everything to life. When people come to the exhibition, I think they should be expect to be delighted. I expect that they'll feel as though they truly have walked into the world of Dr. Seuss.

And lastly, what do you hope visitors take away from the Dr. Seuss Experience?

I hope they'll be delighted. I hope children of all ages, whether they're zero or a child of 100 years old, that they just walk away smiling, engaged, and have had a delightful time in the world of Dr. Seuss.

The Dr. Seuss Experience will run until January 5th, 2020, and tickets are available at www.experienceseuss.com.


Image Credit: Vito Amati
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